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Is This 'Very Artistic House' Really Some Secret Shrine?

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Spirituality and real estate are dear old friends at this point—from stylish converted churches seeking a buyer to former synagogues masquerading as three-bedroom duplexes. While this house here, listed for $1.68M, is indeed just that—a house, period—the utterly bewildering crop of listing photos can only make one wonder. Especially because it's located in Berkeley, Calif., once the West Coast seat of the American folk-music movement and home, now, to a whole center "devoted to the study of peace, love and well-being."
Nicknamed Villa Vine, the three-bedroom, four-bathroom home was built in 1922 in the style of French Mannerism, which is, according to one architecture source, a variant of "a natural expansion of Renaissance principles to encompass a broader definition of classicism" and "a highly 'stylized' favoring of technical virtuosity." Roughly translated, that means there's a whole lot of flourish going on here: the rotunda-esque thing holding court in the middle of the "grand master bedroom suite," the incredible carved-wood doors, those crazy, crazy ceilings, the cherubim perched on the mantel, and the "Greek shower" with tilework, woodwork, and a skylight. (The ancient Greeks were the first people on Earth to build showers, though it's unclear what they would think of this one.) This is Berkeley, though, and one wouldn't want to get too caught up in the trees without chilling out and seeing the forest; somewhat tangentially, the brokerbabble encourages would-be buyers to "Feel the romance of art and wine making."

· 1049 Keith Ave., Berkeley, Calif. [The San Francisco Real Estate Guy]